Clarice Stevens, one of Oldham RLFC’s longest-serving and most loyal supporters, has died in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, aged 90.
She had been supporting the club since she was aged 17 and, until late last season, she regularly attended home games, travelling to Oldham on public transport, with all the problems that can throw up on Sundays, from her home in Timperley, near Altrincham, Cheshire.
Describing her death as a “very sad loss for the club”, chairman Chris Hamilton said:
“Clarice supported the club for most of her long life and continued to do so following the death of her husband Jack a few years go.
“For years she travelled on her own on bus,tram and sometimes train from Timperley to venues like Sedgley Park, the Vestacare Stadium and Bower Fold and until well into last season she hardly ever missed a home game.
“She was more than a supporter; she became a really good friend. And it was a pleasure for me to run her home to Timperley after home games when I had finished all the post-match stuff that had to be done.
“She really appreciated that but it was the least I could do after all the astonishing effort she made, in her late 80s, to get to home games and to show her support. That lady had an iron will when it came to supporting Oldham Rugby and no words of mine can truly reflect how much that was appreciated and recognised.
“Even when she became ill and couldn’t get to games any more she always wanted to be kept informed of what was happening; how the team was playing; and everything about the club.”
In mid-February, 2019 the club and many of her close Oldham Rugby friends celebrated her 90th birthday with her at a surprise party, organised by Chris and the club.
It was reported on the website like this:
At a surprise 90th birthday bash at the Vestacare Stadium last month that same local lass, now Clarice Stevens, spoke of her lifetime’s allegiance to Oldham RLFC and the enjoyment she still gets from watching Scott Naylor’s boys in action at Limehurst Village.
Her longevity of loyalty to club and team is remarkable in itself but all the more so when considering that, at 90, she travels on tram and bus from her home in Timperley, Cheshire to support her team in Betfred League 1.
“It’s a ‘weather permitting’ thing these days but I still love shouting for Oldham and I guess I always will,” she said.
“I’ve never supported any other club, and I never will. I’ve been an Oldham Roughyed since I was 17 and I’m not going to change now.
“I wish the club all the luck in the world. I get upset when I watch a game on TV; see all those people there; and then I wonder why we don’t get crowds like that when everybody at our club tries so hard and does their best on and off the field.”
Clarice is eagerly looking forward to Sunday’s big kick-off against Workington at the Vestacare Stadium — the start of her 73rd year as a supporter.
Wow ! Now that’s what you call a fan.
Details of Clarice’s funeral arrangements will be published on the website as soon as they are known.